Raising awareness among migrants about the precariousness of work in the agricultural sector
Screening in Montreal of the series entitled “They exploit our land, water and our hands: a look on the situation of temporary foreign agricultural workers in Canada”, produced by the Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL) and the Center for Immigrant Workers (CTI).
The Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL) and the Center for Immigrant Workers (CTI) presented the video series They exploit our land, water and hands: a look at the situation of women workers and temporary foreign agricultural workers in Canada, on April 30, at the Maison de la coopération du Montréal métropolitain.
The screening, organized with the support of the Béati Foundation, brought together around a hundred workers as well as representatives of various immigrant support organizations.
The first two capsules of the series highlight the investigative and field work carried out over two years by members of the CDHAL and the CTI on the relationship between the extractivism of Canadian mining companies in Latin America and the migration of workers to the North. They also present the testimonies of several temporary agricultural workers who denounce the gap between the working conditions stipulated by their recruiters and contracts and the reality.
“The extraction of minerals by Canadian companies in Latin America leaves serious environmental and social disasters in its path, causing the forced displacement of inhabitants to other regions and prompting thousands of people to migrate to the North”, denounces the CTI.
Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia are the main countries affected by Canadian mining operations, and are the countries of origin of the majority of temporary seasonal agricultural workers or asylum seekers from Latin America, apart from Haiti.
It would be fair if we could enter and work in Canada without as much difficulty, in the same way that these companies settle in our countries to exploit them.
Rafael Morales (fictitious name), Honduran agricultural worker
Several temporary workers supported by the CTI in their efforts to denounce exploitation or mistreatment against their employers in Quebec participate in the videos by sharing their work experience in the dairy, poultry and market gardening sectors.
“The Canadian government boasts of offering workers the opportunity to come here while participating in a system that pushes people to migrate, for lack of alternative solutions in their country of origin”, expresses Manuel Salamanca, member of the CTI.
Every year, about 60 000 workers from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean migrate temporarily to Canada to work in the agricultural sector. A total that has almost doubled since 2010.
A campaign to disseminate video capsules is being carried out in Latin America by migrant support networks and organizations with the aim of raising awareness and enlightening future migrants about the precarious working conditions in the Canadian agricultural sector, says Rosalinda Hidalgo , CDHAL representative, interviewed by Métro.
“More and more [Latin Americans] are migrating to come and work here, but they arrive without knowledge of their rights or the living and working conditions they will encounter. It is important that they are aware of the reality,” she says.
The videos also show the difficulties and the costs that workers often have to assume in order to begin their travel to work in Canada, especially in light of the rise in scams perpetrated by unregulated recruiters abroad.
CDHAL and CTI are betting on the mass distribution of videos through WhatsApp, the most popular mobile messaging service in Latin America, which has more than 415 million users in this territory and 2 billion users worldwide.
In order to reach and raise awareness of the greatest number of people in Quebec, the two organizations will also continue their dissemination tour across the province during the summer of 2023.
The video clips are available on the CDHAL's YouTube channel.
< p>This text was produced as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.